Routeburn Track

Routeburn Track Itinerary

3 days | 2 nights
32 km | 20.1 miles
Difficulty | Moderate
Nov - Apr

Pre Track Briefing

This is held on the day prior to your walk departure date in the Ultimate Hikes Centre in Queenstown at 1.45pm. The briefing will explain the next few days of your walk, run through the packing checklist and show you the equipment you can borrow. 

Day 1 - Queenstown to Mackenzie Lodge

12km (7.5 miles)
Level of difficulty: Moderate.  
Track Terrain: The track inclines steadily and is reasonably smooth, broken by rocky sections with some steep downhill.

Your adventure begins with a coach ride from Queenstown to the Divide on the scenic Milford Road, stopping at Te Anau for morning tea. The wide and well formed track climbs steadily from the Divide to Key Summit.  Take the optional walk to the summit to see wetlands and gaze down three valleys from which water flows to three different coasts.

Following lunch at Lake Howden the track gradually climbs through silver beech forest to Earland Falls.  You'll hear them before you see them!  Take a break here before beginning the descent into Mackenzie lodge which is steep and rocky, so take your time.  Refreshments, a hot shower, three course meal and comfortable beds are waiting at Mackenzie Lodge.

Day 2 - Mackenzie Lodge to Routeburn Falls Lodge

11 km (6.9 miles)
Level of difficulty: 
Moderate.
Track Terrain: 
Uneven and steep in places, with a series of zig zags, then mostly flat across the mountain before heading downhill with some boardwalks and steps.

The track from lake Mackenzie starts with an ascent through ancient forest on to alpine zig zags to Ocean Peak Corner, where you have a full vista of the Darran Mountains.  The track then crosses the Hollyford Face to the Harris Saddle, where you will stop for lunch. After lunch, weather permitting take the optional walk up Conical Hill for a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks. Rounding Lake Harris after lunch you reach the track's highest point.  From there the descent into the upper basin of the Routeburn Valley is a mixture of gravel track and boardwalk until you reach the Routeburn Falls. Spend your final night at the beautifully located Routeburn Falls Lodge.

Day 3 – Routeburn Falls to Queenstown

9km (5.7 miles)
Level of difficulty: 
Easy.
Track Terrain:  
Rocky descent to start then mostly wide and smooth with some rocky patches.

The track descends from the lodge to the alpine pastures of the Routeburn Flats, crossing a tree slip allowing views to the mountains beyond. At the bottom take a short detour to the DOC hut and walk out on to the flats to see the full expanse of the valley. The track widens from here and follows alongside the Routeburn River as it roars through a magnificent gorge. Gorge Flat is a great place to stop for lunch.  The last section is a gentle walk through the beech forest and across the last swingbridge to the Routeburn Shelter. A coach will take you back to Queenstown, stopping at the small town of Glenorchy on the way.